Sound up for the rally call!
This is a group vocalization where painted dogs communicate with each other in an effort to get “psyched” for the hunt!
Our painted dog trio (aka the Spice Girls) fed on a horse carcass. We usually schedule a carcass feeding for them once a month as part of their nutrition regimen. A carcass feed is a great opportunity for painted dogs and other carnivores in zoos to exhibit a number of natural behaviors, including dragging a large carcass around, ripping and pulling meat off of the bone, gorging themselves on a large meal at once, etc.
It allows the painted dogs to work out some of their social hierarchical needs over this exciting novel food item! In the wild, painted dogs have a complex social hierarchy with each individual assuming a role or responsibility. Together they work as a team to hunt, bring down prey, and raise young.
Painted dogs will often fight to determine who is dominant. One way we can mitigate this conflict, and ensure the health and safety of our animals is by doing group feeds. Our girls are never separated during feeding time, which allows them to have these dominant/submissive exchanges little by little every day, and lessens the intensity and probability of a fight between individuals.
Carcass feeding is like a normal, everyday group feed times 100. They get to work on this carcass for a couple days, dragging it around and communicating with one another about who gets to eat what. It serves as a great tool to occasionally reestablish the hierarchy and solidify those roles. And if you were wondering, Nutmeg is our alpha female at the top of the hierarchy, Pepper serves as the beta or the middle role, and Ginger is the omega or the bottom role.